Weekly meetings haven’t been held for two months

An administrative stalemate in the Travancore Devaswom Board is understood to have affected the management of the 1,208 temples under its purview as well as the execution of work scheduled under the Sabarimala Master Plan.

Board sources told The Hindu here on Thursday that the board was bound to meet twice a week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but the routine meetings had not been held at the headquarters here for nearly two months. The progress of the master plan implementation is set to be reviewed at a high-level meeting here on Friday.

Sanctioning of funds for major temple festivals, awarding of pre-monsoon maintenance work and other routine administrative affairs have all virtually come to a halt. While the president and a government nominee have assumed office, a representative of MLAs belonging to the Hindu community has not yet been elected. The post of the commissioner has also been remaining vacant.

Complaints are aplenty about the implementation of work that has been listed out in the Sabarimala Master Plan. Funds for the work have been sanctioned by the Central government against specific guidelines. The work is being monitored by a high-power committee headed by former Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar and comprising, among others, the board commissioner, chief engineer (general), chief engineer and representatives of various agencies which have stakes in carrying out the work.

The committee had set a priority and work was progressing in a systematic manner till recently. But the undue pressure allegedly being mounted on the committee to alter the priorities and take up work in violation of norms are understood to have slowed the pace of execution.

The committee had laid a priority for completing work on a modern prasadom manufacturing plant, sewage treatment plant and such others considering the immediate needs.

Though guidelines have been laid for identifying sponsors for projects and awarding work under the Master Plan, moves are allegedly afoot for identifying agencies for doing the work in violation of the norms, even in gross disregard of their ecological ramifications. Certain members of the committee are understood to have expressed their reservations about the bid to overlook the norms and the ad hocism in the management and monitoring system.

The tendency to violate the rules in awarding civil work in the temples under the board has also come in for criticism, but the board has not taken any remedial steps so far, according to the sources.

  • Sabarimala Master Plan work execution getting delayed

  • Representative of MLAs yet to be elected